On Thursday, January 26, 2023, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct accepted the resignation of Lake Placid Village Court Justice David J. Coursen. Judge Coursen resigned while under investigation by the Commission.

Last month, the Commission informed Judge Coursen that it was looking into an allegation that he was unfairly biased against the local code enforcement officer and in favor of the defendant in a code enforcement matter, with whom he had improper ex parte communications.

On January 24, 2023, Judge Coursen appeared before the Commission to provide testimony. During the proceeding, he declared that he preferred to resign from his position as a judge rather than continue testifying. The judge’s testimony was suspended, and on the same day, he resigned from his position and promised to never again run for or accept a judicial position. The court and the administrator of the Commission both signed a stipulation to that effect, which the Commission approved.

Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian stated that judges’ fairness and impartiality are essential to the administration of justice; otherwise, the public would lose faith in the courts.

Tembeckjian added that:

“Presiding over a matter despite being biased toward one party and against the other is bad enough. Having unauthorized private conversations with the favored litigant only compounds the misconduct.”

Judge Coursen, who is not an attorney, had been a Justice of the Lake Placid Village Court since 2019. His current term would have expired on April 7, 2025.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.